The Great Burger Battle: Smashburger vs. Z-Burger

A national chain and local string of patty joints go bun to bun.

Colorado chain Smashburger takes on local Z-Burger branches. Photograph by Flickr user 36940459@N06.

Welcome to the third round of the Great Burger Battle! The chains curried favor yesterday when homegrown Five Guys scored a victory over Tune Inn. Next on the menu for today’s competition: the Colorado-based Smashburger versus the local Z-Burger chainlet.

Now we know Smash moves fast. The Denver concept opened 11 branches in the greater Washington area over the past three years, and has over 200 locations around the world. Their claim to fame: thick beef patties smashed thin to-order, so that the surface and edges pick up a tasty, crisp char on the griddle. The “better burger” chain also offers a range of buns, from brioche to multigrain and gluten-free. Still those bread choices have nothing on Z-Burger’s giant menu of shakes—the six Z-Burger locations each offer 75 flavors. Combine that with a double-bacon cheeseburger and a variety of free toppings (jalapeños, sautéed mushrooms), and there’s a strong argument to go local.

So which chain packs a better patty? Show your opinion in the poll.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.